So your significant other has said ‘Let’s have people over this weekend.’ What is your first reaction? ‘No, the house is a mess!’, ‘Do I have enough time to clean and cook?’, ‘Nooooo, not happening,’? If you can relate to these reactions then you may be suffering from ‘Can’t have anyone over syndrome’. Your first thought is that it would only be possible to have people over if you had a lot more notice. Your response is likely to be caused by thoughts of all of the work you need to do in advance to get the house ready for other people’s eyes.
Perhaps you have let things pile up on surfaces and in corners that should have been put away. Maybe you plan to have a garage sale one day and the spare room is full to the brim of bags and boxes waiting for that one day to eventually arrive. Perhaps your kitchen counters are cluttered with papers and mail and odds and ends and there’s very little space to prepare or serve the food.
Don’t have time to tidy and clean?
Whatever your situation, don’t despair. You don’t have to devote hours to tidying and cleaning before the guests arrive. You might be surprised to hear that a tidy house seems cleaner than a messy one. Even if you don’t have time to vacuum or dust, a quick tidy up and pack away can make a world of difference. Ok, perhaps the corners and surfaces won’t stand up to closer inspection but that’s OK. All we need to do is improve the first impressions and we are onto a winner.
So when we need a quick way to make the house ready for company what can we do? There are a couple of key areas I recommend you start with. Get these sorted and you will be ready for those visitors even if there are still other spots in the house that could do with being tackled.
Where will they be?
Have a think about where your guests are likely to go within the home. Will they be inside the whole time? Do you have an outdoor space they will see? What areas will they pass by on their way to other areas you plan to use?
A great thing to do is to try and put yourself into your visitors shoes. Begin out the front of the home, come in through the door and move about the house trying to look at it with a different set of eyes. What do you see? What hotspots can you quickly remove? Take the basket of laundry to the bedroom, scoop up the mail into one pile and place it out of sight, hang up the coats. Anything that can quickly be set right, do that now.
Once these obvious spots are managed, we can have a more systematic look at what to do next.
Zone number one
The very first thing we need to do is to tidy up the walkway up to the house. There is nothing worse than having visitors tripping over random objyects before they even make it to the front door. Children’s toys, shoes and boots, home maintenance equipment. These are all things that can find their way into the area out the front and give an untidy first impression of the home. Spend a few minutes packing everything up and removing it from that area.
Zone number two
Next we need to move on to the entrance, the area your visitors will see when they first come through the door. If you are unlucky enough to have your entrance opening directly onto a larger room, this one may take you a bit more time. Otherwise, again a quick pick up of stray items that have made their way into the entrance is a good place to start. If you have time you might like to return these to their correct locations in the house or simply box them up and put them out of sight. Anything that is rubbish of course goes straight into the bin. Anything that is still good but needs to be gotten rid of goes into the car for delivery to the charity shop.
Zone number three
Next, consider where you will all sit to eat. Will you go outside or do you need to use the dining room table? Make a decision about where you will be and focus your effort on that area. If your dining table is housing your craft project and you will be eating elsewhere, don’t worry about it. Leave everything where it is and direct your guests where you want them to go. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s your home and you need to be comfortable in it. If you choose to use the table for something other than eating, that’s your right to do so. Just check that the spot the guests will eat in has enough room for them to sit and eat comfortably. Do a quick grab and box in that area if required.
Zone number four
The next important area is the bathroom. You know that your guests are likely to make a trip there at least once during their visit. Close any doors they will pass on their way. They don’t need to see inside the spare room and you don’t need to waste time tidying it up right now. You will need to make sure that the bathroom counter top is tidy and this is definitely an area you will want to wipe clean. Bundle up everything on the counter and put it away into the vanity cupboard. It’s too hard to try and wipe the countertop with anything left out on it. Give it a quick wipe over and you are done. Hang up any stray towels while you are at it.
Zone number five
Alright, we have sorted out the path to the door and the entrance way. We have made a spot for our guests to eat. We have tidied the bathroom and closed the doors to all of the other rooms we don’t want them to see. The very last thing we need to do is make room in the kitchen to prepare the food. The most important hotspot in this zone is the countertop. Remove any unnecessary appliances and make a nice clear space to put the chopping board and serving plates. Don’t worry about cupboards or the pantry, that is not important now.
Now spend a couple of minutes picking out something nice to wear, take a deep breath and enjoy your guests. You’ve worked hard to get ready for their visit and now you can enjoy the results of all of your hard work.
Grab a copy of the ‘Quick Declutter Checklist’. Give yourself a head start and get the house ready so you can enjoy your guests.
Quick Declutter Checklist
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